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Cassio M. Meira Jr and Jeffrey T. Fairbrother

Task-oriented individuals believe capabilities can change and focus on learning, self-reference, mastery, personal improvement, and effort. Ego-oriented individuals believe capabilities are fixed and focus on performance, outcome, other-reference, and personal success. We examined the effects of task and ego orientations on the acquisition, retention, and transfer of a balance task. Eighteen acquisition trials with knowledge of results on a 40-s balance task (parallel stance) were performed. Retention and transfer (staggered stance) were administered 24 h later, with three no–knowledge of results trials each. Analyses showed that the high-ego-oriented individuals showed better balance on transfer than the low-ego-oriented ones, suggesting that those who score high in ego might be predisposed to use adaptive strategies to facilitate performance when feedback is withdrawn on learning tests. To test this hypothesis, the second experiment investigated the relationship between knowledge of results and goal orientations. Task, design, and procedure were identical to the first experiment. The analyses indicated that ego-oriented individuals were capable of sustaining balance for a much greater length of time on retention and transfer than task-oriented ones, mainly when knowledge of results was present on acquisition trials. This finding reinforces the advantage of ego over task goal orientation when learning a new motor task.

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David R. Bassett, Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, Lynn B. Panton, Philip E. Martin, and Ann M. Swartz

Undergraduate enrollments in kinesiology have grown over the past 20 years as the popularity of this major increased among students interested in the health professions. A panel discussion at the 2018 American Kinesiology Association workshop provided an overview of challenges facing kinesiology departments. Department leaders at four public universities discussed enrollment trends, faculty resources for teaching undergraduates, and budget models used at their universities. Comparisons were made with kinesiology departments at Big Ten universities to reflect more broadly on what is happening at U.S. public research institutions. At several universities, undergraduate kinesiology enrollments grew between 2008 and 2017, but at others, they leveled off or declined. In many cases, faculty resources have not kept pace with enrollments, leading to unhealthy student-to-faculty ratios. The panel discussed methods of coping with scarce resources for teaching undergraduates and how department leaders can use comparison data to stress the importance of adequate resources.

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Phillip G. Post, Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, Joao A. C. Barros, and J. D. Kulpa

Allowing self-control over various modes of instructional support has been shown to facilitate motor learning. Most research has examined factors that directly altered task-relevant information on a trial-to-trial basis (e.g., feedback). Recent research suggests that self-control (SC) effects extend to the manipulation of other types of factors (e.g., total number of practice trials completed). This research also illustrated that learners sometimes select a very small amount of practice when given latitude to do so. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of SC practice within a fixed time period on the learning of a basketball set shot. SC participants chose when to attempt each shot within two 15-min practice sessions, thereby controlling both the total number of shots taken and the spacing of shots. Yoked participants completed the same number of shots as their SC counterparts. Spacing of shots was also matched across groups. The SC group was more accurate and had higher form scores and longer preshot times during retention. These findings provided additional support for the generalizability of SC effects and extended prior research, showing that autonomy over total practice duration was not a prerequisite for the observed effects.

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Christopher K. Rhea, Jed A. Diekfuss, Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, and Louisa D. Raisbeck

Falls in older adults are a public health challenge due to their influence on well-being and health-care costs. One way to address this challenge is to discover new methods to enhance postural control in older adults so they are better prepared to maintain an upright stance. Older and younger adults (N = 32) performed a static balance task on a force plate with no instructions, internal focus instructions, or external focus instructions. Center of pressure displacement time series were analyzed using sample entropy and standard deviation. Only the external focus condition significantly increased postural control entropy, which was observed across both age groups. This study showed that an external focus of attention can be used to increase postural control entropy within a single session of testing.

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Lauren Q. Higgins, Jeffrey D. Labban, Ruth D. Stout, Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, Christopher K. Rhea, and Louisa D. Raisbeck

Adults (N = 54, 80.78 ± 6.08 years) who reported falling during the previous 12 months participated in a 12-week wobble board training program with internal focus or external focus (EF) instructions. Verbal manipulation checks were performed after training sessions as a self-report of the attentional foci used. The percentage of sessions in which participants reported using an EF (EFSR) was subsequently calculated. Mean velocity and mean power frequency in the anterior–posterior (MVELOAP and MPFAP) and medial–lateral (MVELOML and MPFML) direction were assessed during a 35-s wobble board task at Weeks 0, 6, 12, 13, 16, and 20, with the latter three as retention tests. Piecewise linear growth models estimated treatment effects on individual growth trajectories of MVELOAP and ML and MPFAP and ML during intervention and retention periods. Regardless of condition, MVELOML significantly decreased (π = −.0019, p = .005) and MPFML increased (π = .025, p < .02) during the intervention period. In analyses including interaction terms, participants in the EF group who reported greater EFSR had superior progression of MPFAP during the intervention (π = .0013, p = .025). Verbal manipulation checks suggest a preference for and advantage of EF for facilitating postural control performance and automaticity.